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NHCH’s Waimea Women’s Center receives OHA grant to offer prenatal program for Native Hawaiian women

North Hawaii Community Hospital’s Waimea Women’s Center was recently awarded a two-year grant totaling $206,768 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The purpose of this grant is to implement a culturally relevant prenatal care program for Native Hawaiian women by using a group model of care known as CenteringPregnancy to address health and emotional well being and improve pregnancy outcomes.

CenteringPregnancy offers a group approach to prenatal care, combining three essential elements of care every pregnant woman needs: health assessment, education and support to improve pregnancy outcomes. A certified nurse midwife from NHCH’s Waimea Women’s Center facilitates 10, two-hour sessions with eight to 10 mothers-to-be and their partners. All women are due around the same time, and sessions start in the first trimester of pregnancy. Each session includes a comfortable environment, including food and an individual health prenatal assessment, with the majority of time focused on group discussions, creating a community and an opportunity to share common experiences and concerns.

Maternal health indicators show a higher rate of infant mortality, teen birth rate and an increase in social risk factors in Native Hawaiians in disproportion to other ethnic groups in the state.

NHCH’s Waimea Women’s Center is currently the only health care provider on Hawaii Island offering CenteringPregnancy. Waimea Women’s Center also offers a full spectrum of services for women through every stage of life, including: preconception care, prenatal care, delivery services in the hospital’s Level I Family Birthing Unit, post partum care and gynecology services for women of all ages.

WWC provides services for 2,000 to 3,000 women per year, including nearly 600 births, and accepts all insurances. WWC accepts island-wide maternal care patients on a space available basis. For more information on CenteringPregnancy, the Waimea Women’s Center or to make an appointment, call 885-9606.